You’ve heard of VUCA, right? Volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity. It’s a term the business world has adopted to describe the conditions in which we operate today. In the context of leadership, the following five skills will help you stand out in the crowd and survive in a VUCA world.

  1. Are you a change agent?

Can you adapt quickly or adjust your attitude in times of change? An article from Harvard Business Review on “21st Century Talent Spotting” stuck with me because it describes how people succeed when they have the ability to adapt and grow in complex roles and environments. In the technology space, managing change in a dynamic market is a given – you have to be extremely flexible and open to all the possibilities change brings with it.

  1. Do you excel in a matrix environment?

Team collaboration is one thing. But working in a matrix environment is another thing. When I talk to CMOs, especially in the consumer products industry, their biggest nightmare is generating demand for their products, only to discover they’re out of stock. The orchestration from product development to supply chain to sales and marketing,  all tied to the underlying technology connecting to the customer, is vital to business success.

  1. Have you had any epic fail experiences?

This one might surprise you. For a while the hashtag #epicfail was trending on Twitter – full of embarrassing pictures, dangerous stunts, and political disasters. But if you can admit to failing, you are being honest with yourself and probably willing to learn from the experience. These experiences signal whether you’re a risk-taker. Of course in a job interview you will want to emphasize how you recovered from your failure, what you learned, and what you do differently now.

  1. Are you glocal?

Not a new term, but glocal is more relevant than ever. People with cultural savvy quickly grasp the nuances of working in a global environment and excel in global roles. This talent, combined with the ability to execute in a specific market, be it a mature market or one of the exciting emerging markets, is an unmistakable sign of leadership. It is a combination that requires empathy for people from other backgrounds, the ability to listen, and an understanding that business is driven from a global perspective but operationally is executed at a local level.

  1. Are you a talent magnet?

The way to win is through other people. You cannot be successful without the support of your colleagues and team. Ask yourself – are you the kind of person others will follow? Do you inspire others to deliver their best? Are you confident enough to surround yourself with people who are different and more talented than yourself?

A VUCA world is unpredictable, but these five characteristics will help you identify development opportunities and measure your capacity to stand out as a leader. I’m curious to hear how you excel in a VUCA world.